Well, readers, it’s that time of year again – and no, I’m not talking about Christmas! Last weekend, December 5-7, was Yama-Con, Northeast Tennessee’s own anime and comic convention, and definitely one of my favorite conventions that I attend regularly. I’ve been going to Yama-Con for all three years it’s been happening, and have always had a wonderful and memorable time there. This year, however, was a little different: I wouldn’t just be going as a normal attendee, I would actually be working for the convention as a volunteer!
As a member of the collective community of fandoms and interests most often known as “nerds”, I’ve begun to associate the concept of home with not only where I live and study, but also with the constantly changing places that I’m able to gather with other members of the nerd community, which are most often in the form of conventions. One of the most amazing things about this group of people is that we’re all so varied in our interests, and yet see ourselves as a huge family. Whether we like Japanese animation and manga, American animation and comic books, science fiction, fantasy, or some combination of all of the above, we’re able to interact with each other coming from a place of understanding and comradery. I was fortunate to be able to experience this comradery once again when I attended Yama-Con in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, only about two hours away from LMU.
This particular adventure began when a friend of mine asked me if I would help him run an educational panel he would be presenting at Yama-Con. Realizing that this would be an amazing chance for me to obtain practice with both public speaking and teaching, I told him I would think it over. When my best friend Hayley’s mother asked if I would help her chaperone the students who were a part of the Anime Club she ran at a local high school on a trip to the convention, the deal was sealed for me. I began planning the trip immediately! Continue reading →